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The US Destinations That Deliver the Greatest Satisfaction


Las Vegas, Austin, Orlando, New York, and Columbus deliver the most satisfaction to travelers, according to the J.D. Power 2016 Destination Experience Satisfaction Study.

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Las Vegas, Austin, Orlando, New York, and Columbus deliver the most satisfaction to travelers, according to the J.D. Power 2016 Destination Experience Satisfaction Study. As a traveler, if you feel satisfied, then you’re likely to spend an average of 25% more during your trip.

“Interestingly, while visitors spend more when they have a great experience, they’re also more satisfied with the value they receive for their expenditure,” says Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice leader, J.D. Power. “Especially for cities that are perhaps less thought of for tourism, the investment in creating a superb visitor experience can really pay off.”

To determine what creates satisfaction with a destination, the study analyzed responses from 26,124 travelers who visited a US destination between December 2015 and July 2016. The destination was at least 50 miles from their primary residence and one of the top 50 destinations included in the study. The study divided the country into five regions: Northeast/Mid-Atlantic; South; Southwest; Midwest; and West.

A perfect satisfaction score is 1000. The study analyzes satisfaction in six areas of travel: travel/arrival; lodging; infrastructure; food & beverage; cost & fees; and activities.

Where to Get Some Satisfaction by Region

Head South and Southwest: Both regions tied for the highest overall traveler satisfaction with scores of 802. Orlando, Florida, was the top-ranked southern destination, scoring 815 and rating highest for infrastructure and activities. Austin, Texas, was the top-ranked southwestern destination, scoring 818 and rating highest for infrastructure and activities, and second to Dallas for cost and fees.

Go West: Nearly tying with the South and Southwest, the West receives a satisfaction score of 801. Las Vegas, Nevada, not only ranks highest in the West with a score of 827, Las Vegas also wins as the city having the study’s highest satisfaction rate. Oahu comes in second with a score of 813, ranking highest in food and beverage as well as activities.

Visit the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic: The overall satisfaction score for the Northeast/Mid-Atlantic is 789. The region’s top-ranking city, New York, New York, comes in with a score of 805, ranking highest in travel/arrival; lodging; food & beverage; and activities.

Consider the Midwest: The Midwest has the study’s lowest overall satisfaction score of 782. Columbus, Ohio, the top-ranking destination in the Midwest, has a satisfaction score of 799, ranking highest in infrastructure, food and beverage, as well as cost and fees. In terms of food and beverage satisfaction, Columbus outperforms Chicago with scores of 841 versus 835 respectively. Chicago, however, ranks highest in satisfaction for lodging and activities. Indianapolis wins in the travel/arrival category.

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